Nusa Penida is a stunning island off the east coast of Bali– one look at the dazzling cliffs, hidden coves and secret beaches, and you’ll think you’ve stumbled into a spectacular island paradise. Each time I visit I am blown away by the location, the people, and the diving. This location benefits from several powerful currents that bring nutrient-rich waters, which support a vast array of marine biodiversity and reef growth.
In my opinion, Nusa Penida is the next up-and-coming dive location in the region. I say that loosely, as it is already well-known for its diving and in particular, diving with mantas at Manta Point. But this is not yet reflected in the number of travellers to the island, and neighbouring islands like Nusa Lembongan tend to be more well known. In the last few years, Nusa Penida has had a build and growth spurt with a number of dive shops opening up as well as hotels, hostels, homestays and restaurants.
My good buddy Jason Fondis, co-owner and manager of Blue Corner Dive Nusa Penida was the first guest to record a Scuba GOAT podcast episode back in 2020, against a backdrop of remote connection issues! Today I join him on location, at the dive shop, to catch up and see what has been occurring over the last two years at Blue Corner Nusa Penida.
Blue Corner Dive Nusa Penida is one of the three locations under the Blue Corner umbrella. HQ is located just a 10-minute ferry ride away on Nusa Lembongan and the third location is situated on the northwestern coast of Bali, Menjangan. Specialists in PADI training from Open Water through to professional certifications, the Blue Corner team are a fantastic bunch and I would recommend diving with them at any of their awesome locations.
If you are considering a trip to Nusa Penida and would like advice on how to get there, which hotel to use, and booking your diving then get in touch with me directly and I can arrange an entire package for you.
Jason Fondis, Matt Waters
Matt Waters 00:06
Hey there, Dave buddies, and welcome to the final episode of season three. Now as 2022 draws to a close and I’m on one of my favourite dive locations, I decided to reflect a little on where the show started. Since I started recording episodes, we’ve accrued 55 hours of audio entertainment with 52 amazing guests on the show. However, the chap sat to my right however slightly amazing and slightly barking mad. But right back in we started in July 2020. Yeah, and I message Jase ahead, but this idea for a podcast, shall we? Shall we give it a go? And we tried remotely? Once, twice, three times. already. So overall, shot shark Guardian ended up being the first proper episode. However, the first man to be involved in helping Scuba GOAT emerge was my good mate here, Jason Fondis from blue corner, Nusa Penida Welcome to the show, Jason.
Jason Fondis 01:15
Thanks very much. I didn’t realise that. It was that long ago. Yeah. Well, I couldn’t realise it was that long ago, but I didn’t realise that a pandemic had taken hold yet. I thought it was just before. Clearly I was wrong.
Matt Waters 01:27
Yeah. I think I started thinking about it. Once the pandemic hit, I was sat at home bored as fuck. And it just went from there. And it was a place I’d rather be. But we’re here on on Penida you’re back. So at least we get some proper audio this time instead of waiting and waiting.
Jason Fondis 01:48
Have you still got that file? Yes. No, not that one. Oh, no. It’s just the one you were thinking of. Alright, let’s do it again. Yeah, this wasn’t me that is issues. teething problems. I think they call it
Matt Waters 02:02
Yeah, yeah. I had to calculate 52 episodes, flip the number we got 52 hours of audio. That’s good match.
Jason Fondis 02:14
Congratulations to us, but one for every week of the year. Yeah,
Matt Waters 02:19
I’ll attach myself to that. You told yourself that I’ve got water now, and the lovely Nusa Penida. If you’ve not listened to the first season with with JSON is episode two. You can do or you can listen to the chat talk now and make your ears bleed. And of the end of season four at the end of season started season one the end of season four.
Jason Fondis 02:44
Yeah. Next one will be in space. Oh,
Matt Waters 02:47
sorry. Last season for season three seasons get ahead of myself. Season Four starts January.
Jason Fondis 02:51
Yeah. Now you see this is like the Witcher where what’s gonna happen is I will be replaced by somebody else for the next season. It’ll be Henry Cavill. Maybe somebody else? So yeah, I finished at the end of season three. It’ll be somebody else next time.
Matt Waters 03:05
Yeah. Compared to Henry Cavill. Check it out. If you’re
Jason Fondis 03:10
on the roads. I’m not sure I can afford his wage but we can. Welcome back to penneo. Anyway,
Matt Waters 03:15
thanks, mate. Lovely dodge today. Absolutely. Spanking before we start talking about the dives that we’ve had today and, and possibly the wall dive yesterday. Let’s back it up. And give us an overview of how you’ve managed to stay alive mentally, physically and business.
Jason Fondis 03:38
Yeah, I guess it’s been too long years. Right. Okay, so yeah, Rewinding back to the start. We so Indonesia as a as a nation, pretty much shut down shut down for about five months. Where were you for that meeting? What was that? Yeah. And in March, so April, May, June. Yeah. But for four and a half to five months. You can even travel from one line to another I know unless unless you’re unless people have a little look at the maps they might not be realise how how close some of the islands are some Nusa islands are Nusa Lembongan, Noosa Chinian and Nusa Penida. They’re all sister islands. The furthest boat ride from one to another is about 10 minutes. We weren’t allowed to go from one island to another. So you know, people who’ve got families on other ones, they weren’t necessarily going to do that. And that was for like, sort of four or five months. We still had fast boats coming in bringing in produce and stuff so there was still like the stores open. But yeah, at that point it was it was very quiet. People didn’t know what was going on. It’s how long is this going to be going on for you know, I’ve seen the world over. And then in so at the end of August, beginning of September, Indonesia sort of started saying that they could open for like domestic tourism which for diver business isn’t necessarily brilliant, because obviously, most of the Indonesians who dive work in the industry, obviously, there’s a few Indonesians out there who have done well for themselves. And they do it as a sort of, you know, like a holiday sort of thing. And it’s more of a hobby, and it is work. And again, Indonesia, being one of the best places in the world to dive. If you get set Indonesians who come and do a bit of diving around Penny, they’re not just going to come back every weekend. You know, there’s our Lord is unborn, there’s, you know, Rajon partners everywhere, right? Just pick an island. And then you know, you’ve got like, pretty much you can do what you can you could run anyone in Indonesia. So yeah, it wasn’t without its difficulties. I mean, when we closed up. And we really couldn’t do much, we like nothing, we had like 20 million, we had like, $2,000 of like, money lying around, that basically paid the power the water to pour chemicals, all the way up, it actually happily ended, roughly around the time when we could open again to domestic tourism, which, again, was quite lucky in some respects is a lot of people decided to wait it out in Bali. You know, for some people who work remotely, for some people who are, I don’t know, just who can live without having to work necessarily. There’s a lot of people who live in Bali and, and make their lives. So there was then the odd one or two people coming over. So we did things like boat share with our sister centre, and then bowling to keep costs down. And that pushed us through for another year and a bit, I suppose you could say until we could open up fully. So yeah, I mean, it wasn’t without its difficulties. But though those people who like I mean, there was a really, really, really nice guy, a Dutch guy, and his and his Russian girlfriend who he met in Indonesian, Borneo. And he worked remotely. She, I think does the same sort of thing. And they actually got together during, during this during this kind of like, you know, shutdown. They say, Well, I’m not gonna go anywhere. This is a beautiful places. And I mean, to be fair, if you could afford it, like as if you were independently wealthy, or if you’re working remotely. This was one of the best places, I suppose saying it’s like Philippines or whatnot. If you could get around. Then I had to shut down the Philippines where but like you did, it was the best time to be in Indonesia. Because obviously, you could get from point A to point B with minimal hassle, because there was nobody else on travel and transport. Why not? If you are diving places, you will get in, you’re getting almost like VIP one on one treatment, you will no one have sort of two or three people around the die. So it was all yours. Your you were Yeah, I mean, it was it was it was kingly treatment. And obviously, you know, at that time, even though it’s counterproductive, the prices were lower. Because people wanted to get some bums on seats, is counterproductive, because obviously everybody needed money as they got going to drop it. That’s not smart. Some people were like, literally slit their own throats and kind of like slashed prices where you can where you you, there’s no way you could do that. Like, because fuel alone is going to be excellent and whatever. But we had this very nice Dutch guy, let’s say this Dutch guy and his Russian girls super, super nice people, they actually came back to us like five times. They were based in in Bali, they went to Cambodia and stuff. But we were very close. One of the benefits of being here is we like super close to, to Bali and International Airport. I think I mentioned on our first podcast that one of the reasons why I like to live here is that it’s the quality of life as well as the quality of dying. And, and they were they were really, really nice people and a sort will come like four or five days at a time. And that also helped tickets over and then the last time when he came back, they actually the guy said to me, Oh, we want to come back. We’re going to be leaving because I got a job in Malta, but I actually can’t work remotely and they have to you know, so we have to move but we want to do one last sort of time coming there. And I sort of want to propose that’s like it’s already proposed. I want to get married to my to Miguel on the one. That’s amazing. Did you know that I’m an ordained minister? And he’s like, No, I mean, all right. Okay, well, just so you know, I’m an ordained minister, we can make this happen. So obviously, you know, it’s about as illegal as Mick Jagger and Jerry halls, right because although I’m an ordained minister, it’s probably it’s not really valid here but we printed off a really nice certificate and I wrote on a slate like a you know, do you do you kind of thing with a few funny lines. And we went to Manta point. The the iconic Manta point and Caitlin Nick. One of my instructors here, he he was like official cameraman so he came along with a camera. We also had their GoPro which I thought was was holding him one hand wasn’t me. messing around with the other one. And yeah, we married them on the water and it was mantas buzzing around. So they got, you know, the congregation of mantas and stuff. And I almost lost the ring. It was perfect. As bad as perfectly when as you could find the damn thing in my pocket. I was like, where’s this ring? And one of them slipped inside the other one, so it fit inside. So here we married him on the wall. It was fantastic. But yeah, I mean, that was one of the highlights. But getting back to your original question. Sorry. It was, it was difficult for a while for quite some time in basically the domestic tourism which we had, which was your ex power to. And then the odd local person to it basically, then ticked us over, it paid the bills, it paid the wages. Like I said, we did do things like you know, boat share, so we could keep costs down. And that takes us over until Indonesia really opened in March this year, there was there was a time from probably the end of 2021. No, last last quarter 2021, when you could get what was called a business. They had like a social business visa thing, where you could come in on a different visa, but the visa was gonna cost you about $300 There’s no way anybody’s going to put $500 Extra on a holiday for like two weeks. But if you were going to, you know, be the sort of like backpacker type person or if you’re gonna spend like a few months, then it was okay. And it made sense. So. So there was a sort of weigh in. But until they scrapped that and did the normal visa on arrival in March this year, it was dribs and drabs. And then went once the doors opened in March. And thankfully, people started coming back. And we managed to put some boots on the ground again. But yeah, we we thankfully, we didn’t lose money to the point where we had to just make it appear out of our out of our bank accounts, which were also dwindling, because we had to pay for food and you know, and living costs and stuff personally. But yeah, we did have a nice little run of Yeah, we had, like, we managed to get through but it wasn’t it wasn’t easy. I mean, that being said, it’s the same for everybody else. I don’t want to wins. Like I’m not that we suffered any more than and we didn’t suffer any worse or any better than anybody else. I don’t think well,
Matt Waters 12:16
you didn’t suffer? Well, yeah,
Jason Fondis 12:18
I mean, for me, like that first five months, like that first year, it was ridiculous. At first sort of five, five months, six months at first year, I basically sat in a pool, I swam a little bit, drank beer, obviously. And, and I mean, there’s sunshine in so it’s like, well, yeah, you’re gonna, you’re gonna go and go back to the UK. Or you can do this. I’m like, Well, I’ve got dog. So you know, that’s responsibility. No one I’m not gonna abandon my dog. He’s awesome. And sun shining, and, okay, let’s see the pool. So yeah, it was very much that was year one. And then when it takes around, and Christmas came around, and then we came into sort of like, January 2021. I was like, I have done nothing. I just like wasted a whole year of my life, waiting. I’m sure. There’s probably a number of people out there doing the same thing. But, but I’m like, right, I am not going to waste this. This next year. I’m going to do stuff, stuff. Because there’s like stuff, what stuff all encompassing energy stuff says like, well, there’s a few little maintenance things we can do. Or I can do around a place. I’m quite handy. And I can do this. And we can do this. And I can try and learn the language better because I’m horrible at Indonesian. And any language. I’m always said another year. 2022 Like, what happened there? So I went, yeah, maybe wasted. I mean, I did get some maintenance stuff down. But it was just like how, at the time every day drags into another one. And you’re like, God, this sucks. And then all of a sudden, yeah, now the years gone. And you’re like, wow, I’ve just lost two years of my life, which I’m never gonna get back. And, you know, and then it’s, and it’s a stranger world I got, you know, I’ve got friends who sit every, every side of have this sort of sliding scale of like, it’s a hoax to everybody’s gonna die. And, and obviously, like, they’re still set in various different corners. And yeah, I’m like, Well, I’ve gotten over minor things, I’m sure there’s going to be some statistics at the end where things might not have been as bad as others, but this needs to be done. But at the end of the day, everybody’s lost two years and we can’t get back What’s important now is to kind of like truck on and try and try and do your thing. I mean, business wise, obviously, we were two years in the wilderness so I was talking to friends of mine and and they’re sort of under the agreement that pretty much every month that you’re sharp, you’re kind of like two months behind in what would be say income. So we’re probably you know, three to four years behind in what would have been putting some cash away and sort of trying to you know, in the developing and recent you know, whatever but again, we’re really sad for everybody else, you know, you can kind of woe is me stuff and be absolutely miserable about it. But at the end the day we got through, we survived. There’s definitely people who will I’m sure would have been worse. And we’re open again. And we’ve just had quite a good season. So hopefully, yeah, we’re not we had a good a good like ever since we opened in March, we had bums on seats, and we’ve not had, like, high season was was busy was all hands on deck. We had two boats eight, which was nice. There was a couple of days when there was no equipment left. Which is good, which is good. But it’s also a bit of a head scratcher. Because you’re like, Oh, my God, have I got enough? What if everybody’s small work? Because you do get those days where everybody’s small. Everybody’s Extra small. Everybody’s meaningless. I mean, Christ, really, I’ve run out of bloody money. But you know, you can only do what you can do. But yeah, so So we managed, you know, we got we had two boats out quite a lot like June, July, August, September, October was great. November it started like looking like it was slowing down. But it and it did. And the same for December. But you’re getting a lot that the problem for this year more than anything was, people were coming back, but they weren’t booking as far in advance as what they had done previously. So in a previous sort of couple of years before we were closed. You get a bunch of emails, and you’d have like a whiteboard, you’re like, okay, cool. So I’m full this them for this day. And for this day, this is great. I’ve got some spaces. And I like that I like I like booking in advance, because that way, you know, and it’s not like I take delight in turning people away. But if I’m full, I’m full. And it makes me you know, I’m good. I know, I couldn’t organise stuff better, because I’m not the smartest, you know, I’m not the smartest kid out there. So it’s like, okay, this is great. This is organised. Whereas if you’ve got, you know, a bunch of days logged that this is okay. And then all of a sudden, in busy season. People just dive on in and you’re like, Oh crap, and somebody wants to do like, like, I tried to, like discover Scuba diving. And then a couple of people might want to do more of course, and, and it gets kind of a bit bitty. And he’s like, Can I squeeze that in? Can I not? And then sometimes it’s like, like I said, I’m not some ice Kingdom champion Rubik’s cubes in five seconds to be fair, I could have maybe if I had done one over the over the pandemic, I might have finally finished it. That wasn’t a waste of my time. So yeah, I and then somebody say, alright, I can’t, you know, this doesn’t compute, I’m sorry, can do it. You know, there’s just some things were just too tough. It’s fun. We got this many funds I was on you have to try and draft in I know find a freelancer from somewhere. That was the other thing. Things got a bit busy and people that then, you know, people on the island and stuff because a lot of people like Indonesians and stuff they needed to either go home because some Indonesians are from say, like Java, some are from Lombok. And they were working around here knowing Okay, I gotta go. Because they’re not going to be paying any rent, you know, or they couldn’t afford payments. They were going live with family. So now all of a sudden when things were doing uptick everybody was after staff. And you know, go Yeah, got got those. We’re gonna. So yeah, I mean, you know, logistically, it did get a bit hard to bid quick. But like I said, thankfully, we kind of pushed through and it was nice. There was days when I’m like, Alright, we got to this point, I’m not going to try and squeeze a body on a boat, just because I mean, as much as as much as we need money, and everybody loves money in some respects. I’m like, Nah, there’s just there’s a level of quality and a level of whether it’s service, I’m not going to stick this on.
Matt Waters 18:22
Yeah, go down the green route, or you go down the customer.
Jason Fondis 18:25
Can I fit somebody? Excellent. Yeah. Is it worth it? Not today? We’re not I think we’re done. We’re done kind of thing. So yeah, it was. So we’ve had a good bounce back and hopefully that’s going to roll into next year and, and people will start coming back again and again. And again. I mean, I think we’re talking on a boat with with jazz about the whole kind of Indonesian law, which is being passive people like is like you have to be married. There’s no sex before marriage, which is coming into Indonesia now and like the newspapers really liked that headline and that made international stuff some you know, British tabloid press good you know, he can’t do this anymore. I’m pretty certain that’s not going to affect tourism. Because it’s going to take a couple of years for it to come in anyway and everybody will have forgotten
Matt Waters 19:15
Can you imagine the roller you know your your with your fiancee on holiday but not not married? And you get the door kicked in because you think you’re going JK JK without being married? Are you going to jail? Yeah, kick off.
Jason Fondis 19:28
So noggin world war three. And the thing is, I mean, without without being insulting, or trying to be insulting in any way shape or form. Obviously Indonesia being such a big long chain of islands and each island dominated by whatever that particular culture is on that particular island. It doesn’t necessarily fit in with that national kind of cool anyway. That’s not to say you know, the people go you just go to sleep right and as you know, not heading is hedonistic is it is in kind of some respects in like, in like a sort of like European Western eyes sort of setup where, where that can kind of go on a lot, but it’s there’s plenty of areas where they, they get married once somebody might have got pregnant. So, you know, I it’s more of a I think it’s gonna be like it won’t really affect any any tourists like any foreigners.
Matt Waters 20:29
And I think to me further I mean it’s, it’s got a link to religion does Yeah I actually respect the fact that they’re trying to protect their religion, you know if it was left to run you know if we run them 50 6070 years from now and they’re the equivalent to what the UK is like now where, you know, because religious people there’s certainly a lot of different religions but the the intensity of religion isn’t that great in for example, the Church of England?
Jason Fondis 20:57
No, no, for sure. Well, I mean, I think it’s the thing is, which is which is difficult. Why say difficult the thing that the thing which is, which is also a reality in this area is that nationally, Indonesia is a is a Muslim nation, it’s the biggest Muslim populated nation in the world. It’s the biggest Muslim country in the world. And on a, if you’re looking at it on a wide broad vision, it’s a Muslim country. But when you go to individual islands, they’re dominated by something else. So. So I mean, you take this island, for example, this is a Balinese island. So Barney’s tend to be Hindus. It’s like it’s like a version of Hindu with an extra bit of something like kind of wiggled in there. And there’s like a bit of a mishmash, but it’s essentially Hindu. There’s a Muslim village up the road, but it’s just the one was in village but were dominated by Hindus. If you go to I mean, if you say for instance, if you go to Sulawesi, North Park, Sulawesi is Christian. So the middle in the south is very much Muslim dominated. So you know, that there’s, there’s a, there is a sort of disparity, obviously, overall, the population is mostly Muslim, but depending on like, you’ve got these little pockets and whatnot. But yeah, I mean, obviously, they, you know, I’m sure they’ve looked around and gone well, there’s these things which, which we’re not too sure we’re happy about. I mean, the thing is, barley makes its money solely rely solely massively on tourism, major, major major majorly on tourism. And obviously that’s girls and bikinis that’s dudes and bodies at surfers that’s what not they got beach clubs they got you know, places they got you know, parties going on till three o’clock in the morning. And you know, barley that they’ve made that I don’t say deal with the devil, but they’ve made that sort of offset of compromise. Oh, yeah. Of like, you know, that’s that’s money in with you know, you’re gonna get something that’s that we haven’t got, you haven’t gotten drunk and likes in the streets swinging punches like in like Lanza, rotti, or whatever. But like, you know, it’s a bit of a pie. The good news is, nobody wants that for these sorts of islands here. But yeah, you’ve got a, I think that you know, that’s definitely looking for balance. And, and when you look at other cultures coming in, because you have tourism, I’m sure they feel that, you know, the more hedonistic small revealing bikini type stuff is counterproductive to how they want the way of their, their nation to carry on heading, which I don’t blame. You know, at the end of the day, firstly, it’s their country, and it’s their choice. But secondly, yes. Sometimes it’s, you know, a lot of people don’t think about where they’re going. And, you know, they don’t think about some of these, like, there was loads of stories about people who have upset people by getting pictures taken isolated, Temple, and they’re in next to nothing. And, and, and they don’t realise, but it’s like, Well, come on, mate. It’s a place of worship. I mean, even like, if you take the Church of England as an example, if you’re, you know, in a string bikini hanging outside of St. Paul’s Cathedral, you’re probably going to upset a bishop or to, you know, be like that as a bit weird. So, yeah, I mean, I understand it, I understand, they probably don’t want to, I want to say, isn’t it, I guess it could be in some respects, could be viewed as a negative influence of just, you know, going out. And, and
Matt Waters 24:26
it’s not it’s not respect to the local culture. And that’s, especially here in Indonesia. And the further east you go, the more away you’ve
Jason Fondis 24:37
got to be. Yeah, for sure. But I think yeah, I mean, it won’t affect the foreign tourists coming in anyway. So they just, it’s it there’ll be the same I think they’re just, you know, trying to make sure that the nations don’t end up like Europeans. We don’t understand. Something like 10 a drink and drugs and fighting. There’s not necessarily I don’t want Good to go. Yeah. Good on him for that.
Matt Waters 25:02
Yeah. Hey, let’s, let’s redirect back to diamond. In fact, let’s talk about dive yesterday. Yes. Very interesting. Well give me your background last time I went yeah, last time I was here.
Jason Fondis 25:24
Disclaimer, nothing to do me not my fault, not my dog’s fault. No any of my anything to do with my dog stuffs fault, it was all you is also wrong.
Matt Waters 25:35
I was I was on the bike last time I was here. And just like Joseph just done drinking from the flask, and I had no the water you would say went down the wrong hole, you assume you’re trying to breathe the water, bit of a coughing fit lack of being able to breathe, I went to AWS tech at the start of October. And I listened to a presentation by Steven for those who’ve been on the show. And he was he was presenting on like laryngospasm. And effectively what that is, is whether the voice box kind of has two muscles, which allows the voice to work. When fluid touches those muscles, it forces them to close. And has that reaction that I had where I was, I’m trying to recreate it now but still sort of without being able to breathe out. But at the same time feeling as though you’re not getting any end. So it’s a very confused feeling. And there are say, quite frankly, now a couple of times, and the last one was on the boat in between dives. And then yesterday. And this was all in the first eight minutes and the diver champion computer just after eight minutes was that I started to have our anger spasm 20 to 24 metres. And I could feel it and I can feel the restriction of the breed. And I could hear it I knew what was going on. And I only knew what it was a because I had it before. But they listening to Stephen on stage. And then Simon Mitchell, Doctor going into detail about how to overcome it. And it’s effectively just wait it out. But I would say it was probably the most frightening dive I’ve ever done. I’ve run out of air a couple of times, but we practice for that. So it’s not a panic situation. And with this laryngospasm going on, I could recognise because I’ve taught it so many times I can recognise the onset stages of panic kicking in, I think the next one is looking at the surface and thinking about Molten. And in that nano second. I did a look at that surface. Think about it. So the previous day, I’ve been refreshing emergency practices with my partner. And I’ve always taught think stop thinking breathe, act. Very simple. So that kicked in. Right, Matt, stop what you’re doing. So I’ve stopped where I was when we had a bit of Dan current going on but a current coming from the left as well. So it all add into the complexities anatomy big ass camera with me as well. But still what you’re doing, think about it, what’s happening. The next step is making sure you’re breathing well at the moment.
Jason Fondis 28:48
That’s a big problem. Fundamental, so
Matt Waters 28:50
let’s get some stability and I grabbed a bit of coral, a little bit coral broke. So I found a more hard coral. And this is all happening within a 1012 second window. And as this is happening, I’ve got all of the hard coral looked down to my left and Jason’s three four metres deeper than me a couple of metres away look so I can see there’s something going on. So I’ve given him the problem sign and then just carried on holding on to the coral and focusing on trying to get it breathing back or still not taking the proper breath. And then Jason peers at sign me say clearly sees that there’s a problem going on unclips my camera and take the camera away from me so I could focus on one day. And then once the breathing started to return, there was still that panic going on. So the breathing was uncontrolled very fast. I was still thinking Fuck this. I want to be up there. But Jase rightly so communicated, like, are you okay and you want to stay? You want to go up on it. indicate we’ll just stay for one minute because I knew if I voted for the surface, or we’d have surfaced under control, then it would have been much more difficult to go back down. Even with the experience I’ve got, you know that that fear factor of not being over being able to overcome that particular situation? I think we’ll have properly screwed up my daughter for quite some time.
Jason Fondis 30:25
Yeah, getting on a horse kind of thing. Yeah.
Matt Waters 30:28
I think it’s important just to put it out there, because in the back of my mind afterwards, I mean, I think about things a lot. And then yesterday afternoon, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. And I’ve done a couple of courses with Mike Gareth lock, who’s in human factors, four is the human factors guy. And we’ve talked a lot about how, excuse me, errors in judgement or false on a dive or situations, all this kind of stuff should be discussed, so that people can learn from it. And I think, for me, by the end of yesterday, after 1011 years in business, I’ve never been in that situation where I’m in fear and wanting.
Jason Fondis 31:09
I mean, I agree. The thing is, you, you kind of like drill and you plan for things which might go wrong. And I don’t want to sound blase in any way, shape, or form. But again, I, you know, like yourself, I’ve been doing this for a long time. And mechanically, I don’t care anything, I’ve had Erin’s go about hoses go, have had, my, it’s pretty much fundamentals really, but all those sort of things go pop, and you’re not instantly out there, and you can still breathe, but physiologically with you as an individual, that’s difficult, like if you’re underwater and you have anything like like laryngeal spasm or you know, if somebody has a heart attack or if somebody has eye stroke or if some, you know, those any kind of pre existing medical condition, which you might not know, or, or for whatever reason, something happens and somebody gets malady or sickness. That is a whole new ballgame. Because, you know, like you say, you drill you go through safety procedures, like you know, you and Jazel relatively, you know, close to each other your your, your diving buddies and stuffs good everybody monitors or air, you know, the divemasters do, you know, do their jobs. And like you said, I mean, I’ve had a hose, I’ve had hose blows on me, I want to know who’s gonna student before the student knew was a problem, and I’m gonna float around in front of our face, can I just take that, but something goes on as you as an individual that’s so much different because it’s like, I actually saw on that drive as well, because obviously, I was coming on for fun. Because, you know, it’s a little bit quiet right now. And I’m trying to rack up a couple of fun days before I go in. So yeah, you’re gonna get some fun I saw. I saw you. Yeah, like sort of grabbed, grab this sort of rock. And I’m like, he’s not taking a picture anything. And obviously, like, your, your camera was sort of dangling off, it was fine. You’re sort of doing it. I’m like, Okay, what’s going on here? Right. So obviously, that’s when I came up with any other sudden, like, we could, you know, I got a problem. I was like, Alright, what’s up, but that’s, again, when there’s a so you can say, I’ve got a problem with this, I got problem with that when it’s mechanically but when it’s physiologically as well, is like, how do you get that detail across? So like, you were going from me, I was like, Oh, you’re feeling sick, you know, we’re going to, like possible vomit because of, you know, lunch or something’s gone down wrong. Or, you know, sometimes when somebody bumps into a regulating things kind of come up a bit or, or so I was I run any scenarios through and I was I well, I were just, you know, hanging on to a comfortable but yeah, I mean, the cameras thing. I mean, I don’t want to say I, I I’ve, you know, having diver your lot know that you that, you know, you can self manage self in many, many ways. But as I Alright, well, if there’s a bit of a problem here, and you need to, you know, we need to come up or we need to do some other things, then this camera is very much gonna be bulking in your way and you don’t want to clutter it around. You don’t wanna getting caught if someone goes on. And like, I just take that. So one of the reasons why, you know, it’s like anything with like, that’s another task. The thing which I noticed more Underwood is even as compact as anybody can be, when you start introducing something extra, it’s another task. And another task is another thing to think about. And that’s another thing to kind of like, which can assist in people freaking out stuff going wrong. It’s like Go Go now I got a camera. Alright, now there’s this and that is this. So I was like, Yeah, take off. It’s a reasonable size. So as well, and then we’ll just wait and you tell me if we’re good. And if we’re not and then it’s like well then let’s just swing shallow and we’re good and we just float around and talk about it later. But yeah, but 100% there is you know, when when, as I said to you afterwards I I’ve even even myself, I have like done, I’ve done and stuff here and, you know, done some bits and pieces and overexertion is one, which any diver, I don’t care how many years and how many days people got a feud you get yourself to point me over exerted you like, I don’t wanna be here anymore. And it’s like, you got to stop and calm yourself down. Absolutely. I’ve I’ve overexerted myself, but I told you when I went and rescued this guy’s real an SMB, not the smartest thing I’ve ever done into a current flowing into a current and stuff, but it was like, Okay, I need to stop. Kind of can but I need to. And yeah, you don’t you want to be then and you know, you get your thing back together and just float and get your breath back. But you know, the good thing is you have to reflect on that. And then you kind of, you know, you sort of go, Well, what would I do differently? I mean, in that respect, physiologically wise, there’s nothing you can do differently. You did everything right, you get the smart stuff, there’s nothing you can do different you, if they say you got to wait it out. Because obviously, you can get those orange spasms and things like swallowing water. A friend of mine told me a story is really quite sad. It’s really quite scary. I mean, those things are scary. But he was working remote in in Indonesia. And, and they had a course going on. And this person did a Sisa. And he came up and obviously got an inflated BCD. So it came up from the Sisa did everything right, and then went to take a breath and got slapped in the face with a wave took a mouthful of water epiglottis shot. And and they were like, and they were on the surface, like couldn’t do anything and this instructor was got them out of water was trying to sort them out. And there’s lit in some of those cases, like I mean, you know, that sort of like literally ingesting that stuff. You need to push the thing open. And luckily they because they were remote, they had like what was the dead, they had like a paramedic type person. And he actually intubated to knock it open. So you could get the airway. And if you hadn’t had that person round and this this person probably would have died because there’s you know, you can’t you need to get that you know that that lever and you know, when you see him when they do that, and you got like the kind of like stainless steel medical thing to push it back down. But it was no nobody’s fault. It was just the thing which can happen. Yeah. But yeah, I’m like, well, that’s scary.
Matt Waters 37:29
Yeah, I mean, it is very scary. I think the weird thing for me was I felt like it was breathing. But I wasn’t. Yeah. I think that the takeaway from it, and I’ve played it back a million times just suggested that and trying to try to work out, you know, what is a good indicator that he’s going to be?
Jason Fondis 37:49
I mean, was it was that like, a pre emptive.
Matt Waters 37:51
ailing or anything? Yeah, to recognise it again. But no, not in the whole scenario. I think there’s no other way it could have been played out. Other thing coming to the surface. Yeah. I think but
Jason Fondis 38:04
even so you’re on the surface. Yeah, if you if you’ve still got it, and you get like, what what do you do? Yeah, I mean, that’s, it’s, I mean, you did the right thing, though, like, all you can do is just you can be calm, and obviously, you know, your your, your guys are attacking one another, you know, you’ve already listened to the bits and pieces and those sorts of random involuntary ones can go away again. So yeah, it’s, ya know, but yeah, it’s I can’t imagine that so I mean, it’s not a fun situation, like, how long is it going to be for my body to be apparently working without my chair until it kicks back in again, I can get out but then you’re gulping in so you’re gonna want to be on the surface to go put it in? Because that’s, that’s your natural instinct. i Yeah, it’s not I don’t ever do it any way, shape or form? Oh, let me try. Nope.
Matt Waters 38:48
I mean, the good takeaway from it is that it’s, for me, it’s given me a really good empathy. Empathetic guy anyway, both are really good empathy for people who do have a bolt situation or a panic situation on the water. And we’ve both had many people who we’ve sorted out a bit of a panic on the water. But just about to understand that that brain function has gone. Yeah, we’ve got the devil and the angel. Yeah, they’re often they’re not having a chit chat. They’re in the cage in the UFC. Round. Yeah.
Jason Fondis 39:29
Yeah, I agree. It’s like that I tell everybody story. When in the in the pandemic, so again, like we had zero people for quite some time. So a few of us who are friends who are working at docentes, who own data centres or whatnot, we got together and we chip in for to pay to pay for fuel and pay for a skip and we did a couple of dives and some of the normal sites some a bit more like Reki and whatnot. And we did this one dive site which is very difficult to do, because it’s even when you look at it, the tables and the charts and whatnot, you can go down as current and it’s doing some dumb stuff. And Jesus really, you know, we get to sign. It’s like, oh, we can probably do it. Okay, cool. And it’s that textbook complacency, where you got a bunch of people, everybody knows each other. Everybody’s, you know, got experience, generally and in the area, and we drop in and we go down, we’ve flown along. It’s quite nice. And yeah, this is good. Yeah, this is awesome. Sort of thresher shark within like, five minutes or divers waggon that let’s carry on going. And I think because everybody’s kind of keen to be at the front. So we’re like cruising on the slope and things going, right, just checked my buddy and went, Oh, how much air Have you got? And he’s like, I’ve got half a tank. Okay, well, we need to come and come shallow and stuff. And we were sort of towards the front with a cut with another couple of friends. And then the current started pushing along so that I won’t have to turn around and fit into anybody’s like going deeper to go back. Well, we’ve, we were like, sort of 24 and he’s an underbite. So we can just drop down and kind of go against it. So we kind of came up to about 1816 and was sort of trying to swim against it. We couldn’t like it was very, very difficult. And then any of us getting stronger and stronger, strong and it was winging it. Like it just started punching. And I’m like, Oh, shit. And the alarm bells like is like and that is that whole, like, here we are. We’re in a little bit of a row apart. And there is an unlike and we’re in lockdown. So there’s no boat traffic. So we’ve only so the only people out in the ocean in this particular part of the island is us. And this boat. And and I’m like, let’s hope that that boats there because we can pop up behind your sign and then if they don’t see us and know where we’re gonna be and yeah, long box and bow wherever. So we kind of we cruise along and we’re coming up and we’re leapfrogging the light like the rocks. And as you’ll come in and shallower again. The current comes through they’re so strong that the rocks were basically smooth. So my buddy was trying to stick in like his tank. Bang, I was bullied Olympia, I was just like a gecko, I don’t know, all of a sudden I had like, I had like this superhuman strength in my fingers. So we’re like we stand to get in we’re like going up because you want to go too fast. But you know, we need Gabby. Anyway. And like, there’s just bubbles everywhere. And it’s like zipping along and and we got to this point, and we’re in about 566 minutes. So safety stop. safety stop. Because like, this is like this is hectic. And you breathe out and occurrence we just go in horizontal. Just getting pushed horizontal and I remember thinking I am glad this is not that uncommon because we’d be dead. Like it’s like we don’t ever dead but we’d be fucked it’d be like it would be that I need to get to the surface because that is going to finish me up might finish me but it was like these bubbles were just they were just flying horizontal and I’m like how is this happening right now and hanging on to this rock somehow we’ve just like these unknown electromagnetic fingertips for some reason my buddies Dennis and I you ready to go up? He’s like yeah, so we kind of did like a minute of a safety stock or something. And then literally I fast kicked because I was thinking I’m not even sure I’m gonna be able because of current is doing this so much I don’t even know I’ll be able to kick through should be able to I put a little bit of obesity never done that before. And sort of going I did a couple of quick kicks got to the surface inflated the BCD didn’t put up an SMB not worth it because there’s no boat traffic anyway. And the real would it would have been gone in like a second 30 metres a string would have been nice. It was the punchiest current and we get to the surface thankfully could see the boat although it wasn’t where I told them they should probably float just in case of because we didn’t really know we’ve not done this dive side nobody had so you know, it might be best to float so you get a good view not anyone else. Thankfully, we can still see him get away they can pick us up and my buddy had a D five that was got a D five and he’s got like the transponder only sort of stuff 55 litres a minute so we renamed our little Whatsapp group to 55 litres a minute because like he was doing 55 litres a minute at that like when we were there it was it was not fun and yeah like you’re gonna need to be up I need to be up I need to be smart about this but I need to be up but yeah, it was it was Yeah, I mean it wasn’t panic but I was worried like the currents around here are no joke and where we were and the fact that it was not a single boat or any like I also don’t want to be floating in the middle of the ocean for the rest of my life so yeah, it was yeah that that that was a that was a fun one the other guys they’d almost to a bank turn and kind of swim out of it and get back to where they was easy. So I was I was looking at my buddy going wait, why did you move you so fast pre this point. We could have just gone that way. Instead, we can do that like it was yeah, it was brutal. It was it was like and it was one of those ones where I you know I like to think that I’m pretty bloody conservative we have a lot of stuff here. But you know you like I said he we it was nothing but complacency because you know, you’ve got a bunch of friends. Everybody started professionals. Everybody’s got businesses on the island or working on the island and nosy area. And yeah, there was no reason why it could have been like, two three people back. Somebody else go. We’ve been cool guys was good. Is there a reason why my buddy could have done the same, you know? But yeah, certainly once bitten, twice shy.
Matt Waters 45:30
Why? I mean, like you say, this, this island, it’s got some rippers occurrence when he wants to. Have you ever been to a dive site? That focuses too much? Oh, yeah.
Jason Fondis 45:42
Yeah, absolutely. We’ve we’ve actually one of the one of the really nice ones up here, toy Packer number of times, you can go down Yeah, for sure. You kind of like rock off and you’re like, Yeah, not so much. Because you know, you need to start finishing in fact, arguably one of the worst I’ve ever done here. They say worse, those not worse those but one of the most difficult times I’ve done would have been toy Packer. Because out of nowhere, because it’s sat in that channel, you can get random stuff in a row current come out nowhere big down current and
Matt Waters 46:13
up towards the end of the diver. Yeah, but it’s also that that location that we saw the molar molar last time, we’re talking about random Yeah.
Jason Fondis 46:23
I mean, this is a thing like you were somebody’s dive sites here. You need to get them on, you know, you might be planning with tides and you know, in the right, and swells and heights and whatnot, but obviously, our tie charts are barley, and they’re not necessarily even Hampson accurate for barley. And the app, which I use isn’t necessarily bang on. So I have to make best guess most of the time, it’s good. But sometimes you pull up the dice, and you’re like, Yeah, we’re not going to do that. It’s, it’s the ones which can be Yeah, like real tricky with current and can have the real more sort of, can get rogue ups and downs and eight, those ones, you know, in channels and stuff like blue corner, and so your packet can be sent to you
Matt Waters 47:14
look at that one’s very specific, isn’t it? Oh, it’s very specific when you go and dive in?
Jason Fondis 47:18
Yeah, yeah, I, I’m a, again, I’m a bit of a bit of a wimp. I’m a bit conservative in some respects. But what I try and do for that day side is I’d like to try and do it with, I would say an upper mild to low medium current going through there. Because you think it can meet, I’ve had to climb out of blue cord. Not very often. Thankfully, I’ve normally pretty good. And the times when I’ve had to climb out of blue corner a few times it’s been because of other people have planned it. And I’ve gotten Oh, come along for the diving and it’s like Jesus. But I try and do it with like a sort of mild, easy current where where people be going, but isn’t such a big deal. Why Why do you only bring sort of experienced people, it’s because you need to be prepared for the fact that you can get a down come from somewhere, or an outcome from zoning, and it can go a bit hectic. Because, yeah, I mean, often I the way which I do it, if it works out, and I would say like 97% at a time, it pretty much works out pretty good how I wanted to do but sometimes a bit quicker. You can it has cross currents, and where you can drop in the first 15 metres of depth that you’re in maybe 18 metres, it’s going away what you want it to be, which is on the left side of the roof. And then you go deeper than say 1820, where you want to get in the canyon to look for the fun stuff being the sunfish. And it’s coming against us and you have to swim against current. You know, and ideally, you know, if that happens, you don’t want a strong one because who wants to swim against the current as they did in the 55? Late? Exactly, exactly. You don’t want to really nobody wants to swim against the current and then go what’s the point in that, but also for me is like when we jump on in if we happen to be there. Because you know, it’s one of the popular sites for some things. If you get there and there are some fish there and the current is quite strong, we’re not gonna get to take a picture or slow down to sort of film it or enjoy it as much. Whereas if you’ve got like a more mild current, you can stop you can you can you can control yourself better. It’s a bit like our Manta died because our Manta die tends to be there’s not real currently it’s more like that surge it’s a lot easier to control yourself than if you were currently fighting to stay where you are and or try not to get in the way in the Manta but if you’re fighting against the current and trying to hide stuff you can get in the way so yeah, if we got like a mild current cruising through there and there’s there’s some fish you just got a bat your fins a couple of times and you’re still there and you can enjoy the moment a bit more. That’s my rationale. However, whether it pans out or not no generally generally does I mean I’ve done it I’ve done it on some on some other tides and it’s been Yeah, it’s definitely you know, you can go fast through there and it can be a tricky a dive. I mean, it doesn’t really matter if if the currents a little bit faster. But then your dive is over by a certain amount of time, because again, it’s just a, it’s not a particularly big dive site. It’s a pervading the deep dive. So I mean, generally, you’ve pretty much done like a 40 minute dive Max. But it’s like say, like, for me, I want to try and make it as easy as possible for everybody. Obviously, you know, if you’ve got some current, the fish tend to come up in a walk come a bit more, but if we’re trying to find some fish, and they are there, they come into the water get clean. So if you can slow down and stop and take pictures and get all these really really nice ones, and you know, and everybody’s happy and that’s that’s the that’s tends to be the way which I try and do to dive
Matt Waters 50:41
as long as they’re getting there cleaned that up if you to take the photos. Yeah, exactly,
Jason Fondis 50:44
exactly. But you know, I mean, the thing is, is well with some fish even though they are incredibly weird looking and they are they don’t look in any way shape or form and they can handle a current they can handle a current.
Matt Waters 50:54
He said that the speed of those things when they want to go, they can put
Jason Fondis 50:57
a hammer down yeah, they can go they can go it’s like watching two big doors open and close up with those fins going it’s kind of nuts to watch. It really is. But yeah, they can get up a rate of knots. So you know, although the current can be pretty savage through there. They can deal with it and obviously, you know, we bought in a weekend. But yeah, it’s it’s yeah, it’s it’s strange. But
Matt Waters 51:18
and then today, Manta point, Manta point turned it on. But the point you’re good. Yeah. I’ve dived I’ve Manta pipe many, many times they have adjacent, sometimes not with JC sets in the office. But today was the warmest I’ve ever dived. I think 2627 Yeah, I was like 15 mantas. They just continually coming back round.
Jason Fondis 51:40
Yeah, yeah. Lovely. Yeah, it’s a nice one. Well, again, you got to go home with Magnus, Magnus, Magnus does a good job of sort of directing people to other spots in a really really shallow water today where like the, I guess you could say, like the sort of point of interest is that where the, the big the big rock is sort of point of interest, especially if you map that dive site, everybody knows where it is, you know, where where that sort of, most people go and kind of hang out. There was a couple there. But again, when you pull yourself away, there’s you know, they get cleaned all over the site. And then you can find like we you know, we were we were in in similar spheres today, because I had a couple of guys which I was you know, I saw you guys on the water but it wasn’t too far from you. And we would like navigating around a little bit as well. Yeah, it was super nice mannequin nice and closed gave us a nice big wave
Matt Waters 52:32
of some cracking video.
Jason Fondis 52:34
Yeah, we started over that melanistic one was pretty chill out to you as well. I think it was
Matt Waters 52:39
pregnant. side profile as chunky monkey, top and bottom.
Jason Fondis 52:44
It was i She was definitely quite, quite relaxed because sometimes. You know, like, they kind of come on through and and they’re not sort of, you know, they just sit past but that I do find that the pregnant ones do tend to be a bit more chill that might just because they’re heavier, they’re kind of baby like I can’t be bothered. But she was also close as well. Yeah, it’s something I don’t I don’t know if that means like, I really want to eat some coal. And now I’m really curious about people. You know, like the taste buds are gone as well as a curiosities levels gonna be like many pregnant females everywhere. But it’s, yeah, sometimes you can you can get Yeah, they can really kind of come up and like, be friendly. But that’s, that’s cool. Yeah, she was she was she was wicked. I didn’t I didn’t have a good look to the side of it. Because I had a friend of mine who I used to work with who’s never seen a mantra and didn’t believe in them. And the guy that was on the boat today, Nick never saw I didn’t know that 30 years of phase and plenty of them. Now. He’s like, I’ve been to these places and people have guaranteed Derma and all this stuff and blah, blah blah Zara. Yeah, cool. I’m like, Well, you know, I guarantee you fish it’s no guarantee that you got a good chance. We’ll have a lot as we’ve seen recently and we dropped in and like, you know, two minutes anyone just like as Manta and then yeah, we’ve done the same. So that black one came past you guys and then kind of banked and then went shallow and came up to like, follow like, like the reef edge, and he was there. And it just sort of swam past me. Let me enjoy the moment obviously, like everybody else, but I didn’t I didn’t really focus too much on her. But yeah, she was definitely female, but she probably
Matt Waters 54:23
I just had a flashback to in fact, the previous visit a couple years ago actually 2000 a long time. Four years 2018 came through with Tim Yeah, Tim Morris. Yeah, and he’d never seen mentors. And Tim is built like Jays very very slender and nowhere near as much muscle and he gets cold like that. So he was wearing to five mil west so yeah, that’s right. It was cold. It was like it was chilly by July 19 when they do something like that. And it never say Manta so we dropped in first thing he says within 30 seconds 123 mentors, three and a half minutes into the dive, he’s getting my attention and he’s like, Okay, I’ve seen him out there. Let’s go I’m done. I’m done. Now it’s all good. It’s still
Jason Fondis 55:13
I still like the fact that you you’ve done Ben and the amount of point in the fact that when you are when you’re on a hunt for the sunfish and I was like no you need to come back on this day and we can sort you out you came out next year we jumped in we went crispy went in went down there’s some fish right now okay cool bring it takes pictures. They went down to Manta point and I was with with with somebody other guys knew of manga saying he was and he jumped in and went along to the wall and then we saw you know 3040 seconds two minutes late and I’ve never seen a modem I like Manta point in all of my years in all of my dives here never seen everybody at some point. Like there is always somebody at one point in the year we’ll get some fish swim around at Manta point and you know somebody even lucky we’ll get a Manta anisum fish and take a picture because a management pass never seen a moderate amount of point. And Joy was taking a picture in a fucking cave it was oh we waiting for like Oh, cool. I’ve never seen one point is gonna have a look. Oh, no, people have credit.
Matt Waters 56:19
Yeah, it’s gone.
Jason Fondis 56:23
And he was like, Man, I so jealous. I’m so jealous that
Matt Waters 56:27
he’s still not seeing one that
Jason Fondis 56:28
I’ve never seen. Never seen. I mean, you know, it’s, I only want to see one there when a mantis swim past as well. Because that
Matt Waters 56:38
fish right and it’s
Jason Fondis 56:39
just it would just be nice to have that and and it sucks when you get there’s a guy I know. And he’s he’s he got a picture of a bloody some fish in in a mantis woman pass down. I’m like, Ah, fuck you. You just you that’s just that’s even worse. This is rubbing in. But yeah, I mean, that was cool. And I’ve also never seen which you’re also beating me on. I’ve never seen some fish on two subsequent days. So I’ve never seen one and then don’t done an X diving see one now either. I apparently I missed. Apparently I missed one once when we did a dive on Channing and wall and I think we did a Christmas entertaining one. And I had these people and we share them with some fish. And then we’re drifting along in a second. And they look they looked at and it was one cruised along or something. I was like, Well, wait a minute. So yeah, I’ve never seen him like back to back either, which is kind of annoying.
Matt Waters 57:34
Well, it’s certainly four visits to actually say something. Yeah, but you know, I was coming at the wrong time with a good visit. So yeah. This summary. Okay. And it happens here. Yeah. Yeah,
Jason Fondis 57:46
that was actually a really good one. Yeah. So
Matt Waters 57:50
blue corner. Yes. Onward.
Jason Fondis 57:51
Yes. What’s it? What’s the go? Forward?
Matt Waters 57:54
Yeah. What’s, what’s the is there a master plan,
Jason Fondis 57:56
there’s a small plan. At the moment, I mean, we’re still very much a work in progress. Obviously, you’ve got the the owners in, in, in in them bargain, the OG the big base and then bargain. So we sat down, we were sort of having a conversation about moving forward, because again, the same thing we’d have to live on. And I would say same thing to all the bases, you know, everybody’s funds were drained. So, you know, this year was good to kind of start getting back on our feet. Going forward, have a plan to build on this, an extra classroom on the land here. I mean, obviously, people wouldn’t seen any pictures well, maybe maybe some of your lovely people have have Google Earth this and, and hello, it will look at where we are situated and bits and pieces. But our piece of land we we’ve got about 50 metres area just on the end of where we are setting our classroom, we’re looking
Matt Waters 58:53
at getting my rails on Instagram, because I’ll be going up next week, there you go and give you a walkthrough.
Jason Fondis 58:57
So we’re looking at possibly building a another classroom and a bit of a kind of like a relaxed area on the other side, my plan, because I’m the only one who stays in really, so the other two don’t. So my plan is hopefully the one which is going to be the one which takes precedent. But I’m gonna have an open wall so people can kind of like view the poll because it’s pretty, an open wall so people can view mount Agong because that’s pretty. And then just, you know, have like beanbags or something. Some soft furniture, maybe stick a TV up so you don’t have a hard drive. So after people come back from diving and they want to kind of relax and watch a movie with somebody, you can do that and drinks and beer in a bar. And then above that, put a couple of rooms for like, some essentially meet a stay in one of them. And then moving forward. It would be nice to get at some stage, build a management team again. So get somebody to be like assistant manager so I can kind of be more on different I believe. So. You know, it’s like you’ve kind of grafted, you’ve sort of put everything into something is okay, well, we built this, you know, and this is functioning is going pretty well, it’s time to kind of hopefully take your foot off the gas a bit as an individual and slot people in to do some of the rocks. And then the other thing, which will be quite nice to try and do, which I’m going to try and start doing next year is some really super basic, but nice munchies, of which I talked about, we’ve like, we’ve, we’ve sort of like a sandwich machine. Because obviously on this island, if you want the things, it’s always a reasonable size. So depending on where people are staying, there’s like collections of accommodations and restaurants and whatnot. So there’s always restaurants around depending on what you know, on what people’s motivations are, there’s, you know, you can get some pretty good quality cuisine, you get, like good local stuff, you can get good foreign stuff. I don’t need us for in my personal view, I don’t need us to have a restaurant here. Yeah, as it were, like by any stretch of the imagination, because again, people will go and eat elsewhere. And perishable goods die really quickly, which is a massive expense. And I’m not smart enough to juggle a restaurant in it again, in any stretch of the imagination, fully talked about and not a smile. So, but something simple, like toasties for instance, you know, people come back from dive, even though we give them food on the boat, you come in at diving tech savvy, you’re hungry, you want to toast the Absolutely. Food, if it hasn’t repair, boom, there we go, cheese and cheese, tomato, whatever. Something simple, would be nice. And again, then if people want to kind of hang out once we’ve done logbooks, they’re gonna want to have a couple of beers and the cheese and and toasty and watch the sunset kind of thing or whatever we can do that. And that would be that’s kind of something to work towards.
Matt Waters 1:01:56
I think it’s a really good idea. I mean, as I’ve been there many times now, but you are kind of limited on the variety of what you can get. And the pricing of local restaurants. I mean, that’s it as well as in here. So if you want to save a bit of money I mean, you can you can get like we’re in Aster Santi the hotel, which is nice. I’ll hook you up having a good deal with these guys. But 900 Australian, were paying for 15 Nights, which is awesome. That comes with a breakfast. But then you’ve got to sort yourself out for lunch and dinner and snacks because you’re gonna get hungry. You put food on the boat, which is amazing grub, by the way, whoever cooks that just tell her she is why also why wives of staff? Yeah. It’s brilliant. It’s so good. Yeah, it’s, but just to have that little snack thing when you come back off the boat, or chase them toasty or baked bean toasty or something like that. Awesome.
Jason Fondis 1:02:55
Exactly, yeah, forward. But it’s and the thing is, it’s simple. So I mean, for, like I said for somebody of my IQ level. But also the thing is what what you have to look at, and again, I don’t want this to sound insulting. But obviously on our island, what we experienced a lot of growth in 2018, and a lot and a lot of growth in 2019. Anyone’s like, go and we like this. But you know, previous to that you’re everybody here is basically had been doing things like seaweed Farming. Farming, like you still got people who are growing coconuts, and they bring him down, he shipped over to Bali to get turned into whatever like copper and coconut oil and all this sort of stuff. Like that’s still a business, you know, you got people farming, like growing agriculture as a dude over the road. He’s growing maize right now. So you know, there was not loads and loads of jobs, there’s not loads and loads of restaurants not loads and loads of accommodation, then it started going exponential. So having a really good level of English also is quite difficult. So you’ll find even in some of the you know, you’ll get some nicer restaurants but if you go oh yeah, can you not put this in it? Say you don’t like something or maybe you might be allergic to something go can I have like no onion. And you can get like a bit of a weird look. So you kind of like need to know either how to say that. Or hopefully these people know like enough English to know what to take this off. So to do something here something simple because I just want it simple around. So it’d be like you could have a girl whose English is super basic, not at all not even just go right? She’s an app. There we go. We’re just Cheez Whiz, whatever they go slap, and it’s done. As long as everything’s clean. And you got you know, points at the pictures exactly. Happy Days boom done. And you know, you keeping it you’re keeping it simple things on overcomplicated you know, nobody gets embarrassed, nobody gets the wrong thing. And it works out.
Matt Waters 1:04:52
I think that’s just picking up on that point there as well about Bonita Penita is the first time I came was 2000 17 I think because he 1818 almost been started 18 Yeah, yeah. And I got excited as soon as I got here, because it’s it’s a very young Island when it comes to tourism. So it’s got that it’s got that feel
Jason Fondis 1:05:17
natural still. Yeah, for sure.
Matt Waters 1:05:19
And then with COVID kicking in, and that two year gap, even with the driver that I’ve got on barley, you know, his English was very good, pre COVID. Now, we’re back to using Google Translate a little bit just to make sure he’s got the lingo, right. So the same is occurred, you know, people are now getting back into that routine of trying to understand how to, yeah, to Western people who expect it.
Jason Fondis 1:05:45
And it’s exactly I mean, that’s the thing, if you want to, you know, there’s some, some of the combinations and say, for instance, in some of the restaurants, you know, if you want to try and cater to these people and get them in, and obviously, you know, that there’s a slightly bigger price on some of these, you know, places where you’re gonna go and eat, it’s like, but you need the people to be able to have that conversation, or at the very least, understand that maybe I don’t want to onion because I’m allergic to it. Or peanut, I got a peanut allergy or, you know, I mean, there’s, it’s pretty difficult. And again, when people travel around the world, you get people with, you know, nut allergies, you get people who are, was it gluten intolerant, you get all these bits and pieces, and it’s like if you sit in for I remember when I first came out 20 years ago, and you go like, you know, go to what I’ve been thinking wrong, it was still built up in the likes of Kuta or whatnot, but you go it’s like a little local work. And you be like, you know, and I’m not vegetarian, but I remember seeing people go Yeah, can this nasty Gaurang which is obviously you know, fried rice, chicken vegetables in it. Yeah. Can I have the nasty going yet? But I don’t want any meat. Okay. Is it got chicken in it? Yeah. Can I not have chicken in it? Okay, comes out. It’s got chicken in it. It’s got chicken, I asked for vegetarian is vegetarian got anything like? Yeah, so you get like a lot. Yeah, because chicken is a vegetable witness area. So you either accept the chickens a vegetable, or you know, I’m paying people money. But you know, that has over the years that is obviously you know, change where people do understand this a little bit more. You know, like, like, if you can ask for vegetarian and you’re getting it. You know, like some parts on this island. You know, when you start over complicating matters, we’ve a restaurant and you haven’t got people who can understand certain things of maybe certain ingredients. It’s not gonna work for you. This is why like, you know, I’m very conscious of that when I’m like, Well, if we’re gonna throw something here, like we don’t, we don’t need to be a restaurant here. Partially because of our location. I mean, there’s a couple of accommodations nearby, but you’ve got a beach club down there, they’ve got a restaurant, there’s a place there, they’ve got a restaurant has placed in any, you know, you don’t want to be I don’t think it’s a smart plan. But something simple. You know, people come back from diving, simple, reasonably priced. Why not?
Matt Waters 1:07:58
That’s the thing. And if you step up to do the menu kind of thing. And you’re then in competition with all the other restaurants. And it’s pointless. You’d moving away from your business or diving or both. toasty.
Jason Fondis 1:08:13
I mean, it’s Yeah. And the other thing is, what ends up happening is I’ll end up just eating nothing but toasties and be completely broke. We got toasties. Nobody else just me. Yeah, that could. I mean, that’s the other thing. You could go horribly wrong. In fact, I just end up eating my own bodyweight and toasties. But yeah, I think I think there’s a smart plan. I think just, it’s just something simple and easy. So hopefully, we can implement that. And like you said, you can get somebody in, who doesn’t have to have a great grasp of English to go that says cheese and ham. Splat. Yeah, that’s 20,000. Thank you very much. And, you know, off you go. So
Matt Waters 1:08:55
what about, you’re gonna get back to doing the profiler training as well?
Jason Fondis 1:09:01
Yeah, very much. So because we’ve actually got a presentation coming up in in a couple of days. Right now, what’s happening is we’ve got two course directors on their bond. One of them is one of the owners. One of them does other stuff as well. But he’s also of course, Director. So when we’ve got presentations and stuff, they’ll come over here. And then obviously, if we have any candidates here and want to stay here, they’ll come over and do it from here. And then at some point down the line, yes, we’re going to probably look more into having a more permanent person here for that as well. But obviously, again, we got to see how well things kind of come on. Pricing of, of materials and stuff aren’t cheap in this region. But yeah, I mean, we got to see how people are going to come on and how how many people want to do their protocols. is in his area again. And on this island again, and then what was not too bad then one was quite well known for, for pro courses. I mean, we did some domestic courses this year, which was cool. But that next one that instructor level there’s Yeah, we I’m not sure this year was particularly there’s another coaster at something island. But I think next year, we’ll have to see I mean, if next year is as good as this year, and listen, there’s some inquiries into sort of doing some instructive stuff, then yeah, we’ll be straight on that. That’s one of the reasons why we’re doing the second classroom. Yeah. Because obviously, with the with the IDCs, you need pretty much, three weeks, and there’s going to be almost every day, you’ll be spending some time in a classroom, where then if you go over more courses as well, you might need a bit of a classroom action.
Matt Waters 1:10:47
To be fair, if it’s hire somebody that will be sitting outside doing rescue
Jason Fondis 1:10:51
or something like that, we’re EFI something, you’re going to need it. So when we had overlap in the past, we got another TV, we sort of stuck it in a binder sitting on a bottles, but to have another classroom would be useful for that. So so that’s that’s one of the reasons why so we’re planning ahead for that. And, yeah, so maybe that will come along and, and we’ll go with that. I’m not the smartest again, when it comes to that stuff. I know very, very little about about the logistics of it. Obviously, I went through it myself. But running running IDC logistics of that, you know, all those bits and pieces. And I’m like, that’s what I got. I got nothing I got enough to do. That’s for you to take on because you’re the course director. And I will be at you tell me when you need to go when you want to go where you want to go? I’ll see you every boat, I will have that peace. See
Matt Waters 1:11:43
- So for a course director that wants a job.
Jason Fondis 1:11:48
There’s another classroom, a self motivated, organises everything logistically, off you go go and do it. Yeah. Yeah. So we’re probably gonna be looking down at line at some point again, you know, but um, and like I said, it’s very, I mean, of course, the rectangle, you should be able to do all that stuff anyway. Yeah, just come to me and go on a boat on the on these days. And they’ll be like, yeah, no problem.
Matt Waters 1:12:10
You’ve got somebody’s going to teach someone to be an instructor. They have to be competent and doing all of that stuff. Nine times out of 10. They want to do it anyway.
Jason Fondis 1:12:16
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So that’s yeah. So moving forward. Obviously, we have to see, I mean, you can have an idea. But we have to see what what’s going to happen. Well, we got to see what’s happening in the markets. We got to see what’s happening with people, we got to see what’s happening with you know, obviously fuels quite expensive right now. And we have things like wars in Ukraine and whatnot. I’m going home for Christmas. And it’s cost me an extortionate amount of money. But thankfully, my parents went, Oh, we pay for your flights, because it’d be Christmas. But, you know, it’s like stuff is quite expensive right now. So obviously, we don’t know, you know, we can try and prepare ourselves as best as we can, so that we can react in the right way when, you know, when if people are turning up again. Hopefully, this year was a good sign of what’s to come. And next year, we’ll be building again. But the world looks like, you know, economically, people are having a lot of trouble anyway. So the good news is obviously everybody always wants to go on holiday. But how much money have you got to go on holiday? But if you do go on holiday come here.
Matt Waters 1:13:22
It’s gonna be like, to be honest. I mean, if you’re if you’re still listening to the podcast, you got this far, I would strongly recommend coming to Nusa Penida. I’ve bounced back here. I’ve lost count now. But six times five or six times easy, and I just love it. I think it’s an oasis. And it’s so convenient and easy to get to. Chase mentioned earlier on about the difficulties in getting into the country and they’ve made it almost seamless now because we did instead of the visa on arrival, we did the E visa, EMV AoA or whatever it is on the phone. You know, coming through Bali, Denpasar, we literally spent 15 minutes from start to finish including collecting bags Kool Aid, and that was all done so
Jason Fondis 1:14:13
much better now. Yes. So easy. When they first opened it was a little bit difficult. But now they’ve done a really good job. Actually, the thing which they did amazing at which which blew my mind was in a pandemic, when people saw everything was shut and flights were closing, people were putting borders, shutting them down, going, Nobody’s allowed in or out or whatnot. Indonesia basically waived everybody’s visa, and said, Whatever fees you’re on, you’re more than welcome to stay until it’s over. didn’t charge anybody have been, which was I was like, blown away. It was it was one it was a very, very, very nice thing to do. Because, I mean, they could they could have gone do get on a plane and leave us. You know, you’re not supposed to be here or show us your money. didn’t do any of that until Oh, like, you know, until it was kind of things were opened up again. They’re like,
Matt Waters 1:15:04
they’re like an amnesty really? Yeah, it was,
Jason Fondis 1:15:06
it was it was incredibly nice. And very, I mean, it was one of the most altruistic things I think you could see of any nation. Actually, it was, it was pretty cool. Because then people were just like, going, you need to leave. Or you’re leaving, or you’re stuck. And it was, you know, and yeah, it was, it was it was it was very, very nice of them. They did you know, and they, they literally waved everybody’s, you know, visas like, Okay, well, you know, you’re stuck here kind of thing. And, and, and that was yeah, that was that. And yeah, but and that was, that was really good for a lot of people as well, because I got cool, I get sunshine. And like, some of these videos were cheap. So people will stay in, like, you know, like half price villas and whatnot. But yeah, that was a really, really, really decent thing to do. It was super, super nice. Because you know, does that like I got a buddy who was stuck in London. And any of these students pay for his for his visa and whatnot.
Matt Waters 1:16:01
I nearly got stuck in New Zealand, some people just across the water from the message. Six months or whatever it was.
Jason Fondis 1:16:09
Yeah, it was. Yeah. You know, it was nice. And they are I mean, they are I think they like with a lot of the the electronic stuff. They’ve been stepping up that you’ve got the you’ve also got the E customs declaration thing. That’s right. So you do all that as well. It’s all on my phone. And I called as a phone. Yeah, yeah. So yeah, they they’ve got a lot of that stuff going on. There was some issues with their with their health app for a while,
Matt Waters 1:16:34
which they’ve sort of had a lengthy on
Jason Fondis 1:16:37
that one that’s, but that’s, that seems to be getting better with each incarnation. So yeah, I mean, you know, I, they’re, they’re embracing very much more and more and more a lot of this electronic stuff to streamline things. Yeah. But yeah, you can, you can practically skip on me sometimes when it’s busy, you can be held up a little bit, but no more than any other airport. So it is it is still nice and easy to get to that, like you said the the issues for for everything is globally is going to be the expensive flights. But that’s gonna be anywhere you go. But yeah, I would, you know, I’m hoping that I mean, you know, like, you read the newspapers and stuff, and people talk about an economic downturn and housing prices are crashing, and people are getting, you know, like, there’s, there’s, there’s like a time turn and like, he’s OPRE horrible. But then I suppose on the on the bright side, we’ve all that people want to escape and go on holiday. So that’s where that’s where we that’s where we fit in quite nicely. So So if people can still afford it, it’d be nice to yeah, we’ll still be welcoming people coming on in but yeah, it seems like the world’s not you know, there’s been a bit of a bit of a almost like recession on a go, I think is it recession in all but name nobody’s actually outwardly said recession, but because things have shrunk as far as, as far as countries not making any money. I think they’re practically in a recession. Yeah, I don’t know. I’m not an economist. But as it sounds like, they just not admit it, because it sounds horrible. It sounds horrible. And everybody’s miserable. So well. That’s right. But he’s miserable. Anyways, winter and winter in Europe, but when he’s miserable.
Matt Waters 1:18:11
Go on holiday. But yeah.
Jason Fondis 1:18:13
So but this, the good thing is people always try and put some money away. I remember I always used to believe twice, put some money away to go on holiday. So yeah, I mean, you know, the flights, if I do if I go on a home in February instead of Christmas, which even though my parents aren’t particularly practising Christians, and although I do love Jesus’s birthday, it is my favourite time of the year. I’m not the best Christian in the world either. In fact, I’m a horrible human being. But, you know, it’s that time of year when it’s really nice to get together with people. If it pushes back to February, I think my flight sort of my half price. It’s similar like 556. And upon returning February,
Matt Waters 1:18:51
yeah. Well, that’s, that’s the problem that we’re in. Because Because of those pandemic years, everybody’s going to make that and includes the airlines. You know, so I mean, my prices to the UK in July, concerts, thank you very much. They fucked up my flight and cancelled it without telling me. And then I had to purchase again at short notice. And it was it was another 33 35% On top, you know, so it was a route five and a half grand return ticket. It’s ridiculous. Yeah. And here’s what
Jason Fondis 1:19:22
I mean. You are flying from the furthest point to the why need to do is go as far away as I possibly can from my original point of origin. Yeah, well, actually,
Matt Waters 1:19:33
the longest the longest world flight is from London to Perth.
Jason Fondis 1:19:36
It was like 21 hours or something. I
Matt Waters 1:19:38
can’t remember. But I did it. I did it on the return journey. It was hell. Yeah. I was I was. I was in Premium Economy. Well, the thing is, I didn’t I didn’t do the alcohol. I was I was going to but I thought no, if I do that, I’m gonna have one will turn into three will turn into 10 And I’ll end up with a hangover. A lot still not be on the deck. Yeah. In Perth. Yeah. So now stay away from that. But it was a long flight back,
Jason Fondis 1:20:07
like 1920 hours. Yeah, that sounds. That sounds kind of fun on the one hand and on the other hand, it sounds like your worst nightmare. Yes. It could go on in two ways.
Matt Waters 1:20:17
I couldn’t imagine doing it in economy. Not that I’m a snob or anything like that, or a princess. But then six foot two, and 115 kilos. Those seats are not designed for the man of 2029 1970. Maybe
Jason Fondis 1:20:35
2020 Yeah, I am. I am not good with I’m not good with the economy class. I mean, the fact the fact I say no, I see the class which I travel in, but I’m not great. I mean, I’m great with the food and the drinks, and the free TV stuff. But I just don’t need a seat pitch anything less than like flat. And I’m like, Well, this is going to be you know, if you got the broken up like I’m going back via via Emirates. I love Emirates. They got they got a really really really really really good set up. I love flying Emirates. But I’ve never I’ve never been asleep. I mean, they’re in flight attendants Great. Their booze is great. The food is great for Jays can’t sleep.
Matt Waters 1:21:14
We are the giraffe neck.
Jason Fondis 1:21:17
That doesn’t work kind of doesn’t work. I got one. I’m like neck pillows. And ideas slide just
Matt Waters 1:21:25
those latest things where you pull the table down. And it’s it’s like, yeah, your water wings for kids blow up this inflatable Reed semi triangle thing that you put your arms and your face on. It’s got a hole in it. No, I’m not saying that. It looks ridiculous. At some level is
Jason Fondis 1:21:40
really one of the things which I despise the most about being in Asia, or Southeast Asia, right. But I mean, it’s the same for all of it is for some reason. Like, Southeast Asians and Asians can just fall asleep by that. If they’ve got like five spare minutes. They’re like, gone, and you sit on a bus on a train in a car and play like you’re done before the plane is taken off asleep. And it both annoys me and fills me with massive amounts of jealousy. Yeah, mostly annoys me because I’m jealous. I can’t do it. But you’re like, how? How is that there’s like this weird on off switch. And I don’t know how anybody could do it. I like anybody but it seems to be like that. It’s one of those. It’s one of those great genetic things which some people get and other people don’t like you know, so you know, Europeans get to burst into flames in sunshine. A Asians get to fall asleep whenever they want. Yeah. Pretty bad trade off. Yeah, you like your how does that? And is every I’ve not come across one Southeast Asian or Asian person I’ve ever met who’s ever complained of insomnia. I don’t know if you have you ever met Asian has gotten something? No, no, they just fall asleep anywhere. And I hate it. I’m like, you know, I’m like, really disappoints me. Why? Why can’t I do that? And, uh, you know, then they’re just like these on a on a plane. And you’re like, how is your neck? Not like, why do you not wake up and like pain? Or like how? Yeah, anyway, so yeah, I don’t know. I got a neck pillow doesn’t work. So I just I love gin and tonic on the flight and then, you know, stick your neck pillow on and see if I can pass it for four hours and wake up. Wake up, numb somewhere. Walk up and down. Sit down and watch another movie and eventually get eventually not fall asleep on the couch. Going back to the UK. I will go back from London to Bristol capitalist Livanos either, but yeah, you know, the usual. I’m hopeless.
Matt Waters 1:23:35
My logo. Right. Let’s wrap this up. Oh, absolutely. It’s time to have another beer and go and grab the missus for some dinner. Fantastic.
Jason Fondis 1:23:41
Thank you so much for having me back.
Matt Waters 1:23:43
It’s great to have you back. And ladies and gents, if you want to come and I strongly urge you to come and dive in Nusa Penida. Hit up Jase. If he’s not about if he’s not falling asleep on a plane. You can hit me up directly and I’ll put you in ledge with this company coming back on plane and manage Scuba. Scuba. Thank you all for listening. Thanks for your support, and I’ll see you in 2023 podcasts for the inquisitive diver